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Roaming at sea? It can be very expensive…

  • 13 December 2018
  • 3 replies
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Userlevel 8
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When you’re at sea, we strongly recommend you don’t use your phone, and put it into flight mode until you get to shore. We’re advising this because roaming charges at sea can be very expensive.

If you’re going on a cruise, or taking a ferry on a journey like Dover to Calais, roaming charges could apply, even if you’re travelling between two of our ‘Inclusive EU Roaming’ countries.

The reason for this is because ferry and cruise operators often use their own phone network that’s operated via satellite. Connecting to a satellite network is much more expensive then connecting to a land operated network, so that’s why your usage at sea isn’t included as part of your Inclusive EU Roaming allowance.

Here’s a table showing the costs of roaming at sea:


* Price per minute
** Price per message/text
Prices shown include VAT where applicable.

To avoid these high charges, we’d advise you not to use your phone when at sea. Just pop it in flight mode until you reach land.

Some ferry and cruise operators offer Wi-Fi on board, and you can still connect to Wi-Fi when in flight-mode. Simply go into your settings and manually turn on Wi-Fi.

If you’ve got a question on roaming at sea, post a reply below.

3 replies

Userlevel 4
I switch my phone off completely before I board and don't turn it back on until I'm safely on dry land! I've been caught with this before.

Rebecca
You also need to be careful near borders - I have recently been charged £5 for 3Mb of data that my phone downloaded in the background despite not leaving the EU.

My guess is that as I was in Lindau on the German side of Lake Constance, my phone connected to a Swiss cell on the other side. There doesn't appear to be any way to prevent this - roaming seems to be on or off; I can't see an option in either the iD app or Android to only allow roaming in certain countries.

Is there a way to stop that happening? Obviously it's not very convenient to stop using your phone if you're on holiday near a border.
Userlevel 6
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You also need to be careful near borders - I have recently been charged £5 for 3Mb of data that my phone downloaded in the background despite not leaving the EU.

My guess is that as I was in Lindau on the German side of Lake Constance, my phone connected to a Swiss cell on the other side. There doesn't appear to be any way to prevent this - roaming seems to be on or off; I can't see an option in either the iD app or Android to only allow roaming in certain countries.

Is there a way to stop that happening? Obviously it's not very convenient to stop using your phone if you're on holiday near a border.


Hey @virnuls,

Thanks for getting in touch here.

There most certainly is a fix for this.

The reason this happens is by default, your handset would have "automatic network selection" selected and this will connect to the strongest compatible network available to you.

Fine when you're in the UK, as you'll only connect to the iD Network as you're only set-up for services on our network.
But when Roaming or close to borders, the phone (if Roaming is set-up), will try to connect to the strongest available network since we offer Roaming in most countries worldwide, be it an inclusive destination or a chargeable one.

If you turn off this feature and move to "Manual network selection" you can choose the network you connect to and ensure and only connect to compatible networks that are supported.

You can always message us here and we can confirm which networks are compatible for which countries.

Mohammed

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